History of Mumming 3 – C20th Revival

In late C19th and early C20th there was realisation that old customs were being lost.  Several people set out to collect folk songs, dances and to a lesser extent mummers plays.  In Gloucestershire, researchers have uncovered historical accounts of mumming in over 60 places across the county.  These records include many play scripts.

There was a small revival between the wars, but this increased dramatically in the folk revival of the 1970s.

This revival differed from the original form of mumming.  The new mummers were often urban, educated people, many involved in the morris dance revival.  They performed their mummers plays in public houses and the street, rather than visiting private houses and knocking on doors.

Many groups chose original scripts from the collectors, whilst others took the form of these scripts but freely adapted them, adding characters, topical references and ‘updating’ the plots.

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